'I was going mad': Nicolas Pepe calls out Arsenal boss Arteta

Nicolas Pepe

Nicolas Pepe and coach Mikel Arteta

Nicolas Pepe has called out Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for not fulfilling his promises to him.

The Ivory Coast winger is returning to the North London outfit after spending last season on loan at Nice, where he scored only six goals in 19 Ligue 1 appearances.

Pepe, 28, was signed by the Gunners in the summer of 2019 for a club record fee of £72million but struggled to live up to his price tag.

The 37-cap international fell out of favour in the 2021-22 season with Arteta at the helm — but believes he was not given a fair opportunity by the Basque boss.

Speaking to Colinterview, the left-footed winger said: “People say that he identified me as a player that wasn’t up to the level in his team, in his philosophy.

“It’s completely false. When he arrived, he had (Manchester) City’s philosophy. He had a squad that was filled with quality and backups in every position.

“When he spoke to me, he said he counted on me, he wanted me to do this or that, and you have to focus on that.

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“He improved me in every way. He spoke to me the whole time, I watched videos with his assistants all the time. He really believed in me.

“He said I had incredible potential, so we need to extract that potential. At the end of the first season, he spoke with me and told me to do this or that.

“The second season comes along, I was a substitute. I was going mad. How could I be a substitute when he said he counted on me? Everything is spinning in your head.

“I was a substitute. It was at the time when they signed Willian. He is a number 10 or a winger. But he plays on the wing for like 11 or 12 matches in a row.”

Pepe was restricted to just 20 Premier League appearances in the 2021-22 campaign, the former Lille attacker scoring just one goal during his 681 minutes of action.

And his latest outburst will likely mean a 12-minute cameo in Arsenal’s 5-1 win over Everton on May 22, 2022, is his final showing for the Gunners in the English top-flight.

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